I'm looking to run a java 8 application on the raspberry pi zero. Which is a recommended image to use to run Java 8?
I've been using Java 8 tools on a Raspberry Pi 2, so I see no reason why it should not work on a Zero. It won't be as snappy as on a x86_64 or even an ARM with better CPU/more RAM but it will work. I'd recommend to use Raspian because it's easy to install and maintain,
sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk to get all you need to execute and compile Java programs.
Yes, you can run Java 8 on a Raspberry Pi Zero.
I have a Raspberry Pi B and B+ and Oracle Java 8 is running fine on both and is pre-installed on Raspian OS. Raspberry Pi B and B+ using the same ARMv6 architecture like the Raspberry Pi Zero. So there is no reason why it should not run on the Zero. Also the Raspberry Pi Foundation is looking after compability across the variant models.
You can also run openJDK 8 but Oracle JDK runs faster because it compiled with the hard-float ABI for ARMv6/7.